By Crystal Mackay, MA’05
Dr. Shawn Segeren has been involved in the health care community in Chatham since he was thirteen years old. As a volunteer in the hospital, he remembers looking up to the health care providers that expertly and compassionately cared for patients in his community. Now, he’s proud to be one of them.
After completing his medical and residency training at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, he returned to his hometown and now splits his time between family practice in Chatham and emergency medicine in Chatham and Wallaceburg.
His desire to become a doctor really began as a high school student participating in a week-long health care professions camp organized by Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. The camp, then called MedQuest, provided an opportunity for young people outside the big cities to be exposed to health care professions.
“I got to see how happy those medical students were in their careers, and how rewarding it is to learn continuously and always challenge yourself,” he said.
Then, once in medical school, he returned to the same camp as a councillor - now called Discovery Healthcare - between his first and second year. “It was a surreal opportunity to be part of that knowing that, not so long ago, I was in the other role.”
Dr. Segeren was born and raised in Chatham and the seed that was planted as a teenager grew into a passion for rural medicine and a desire to see more physicians practise in small towns outside of the tertiary centres.
“This community is very in need of physicians, and we’re always actively trying to recruit doctors here to treat our large and aging population,” he said. “It’s a great place to work and full of people that are dedicated to their jobs and dedicated to their patients.”
As the site-lead for Chatham Kent’s CCFP-EM Emergency Medicine Residency Training Program, he’s keen to show students and residents the benefits of working in a smaller centre.
“In a place like Chatham, because there are not a lot of specialists and other resources, as a general practitioner, you have to use a lot of the skills you were taught throughout your training and you really feel like you are making a difference for those patients,” he said
“When there is a trauma, I can’t call in the trauma team, because along with my ER colleagues, I am the trauma team,” he said.
Dr. Segeren says he owes much of his clinical confidence to the education and experiences he had at Schulich Medicine. He took every opportunity that was presented to him in medical school and residency to do rotations in a wide variety of settings, both in the main academic hospitals and in the smaller teaching centres.
“Schulich Medicine really provides a great balance of experience, and allows you to really understand what the differences are practising in different sites,” he said. “I owe a lot to the mentors I had along the way.”